Autumn is here and as we prepare for cooler weather, decorate, and stock up on candy don’t forget to keep your pets safe. Let’s go through some of the big ticket items for October and Halloween pet safety!
The sparkle and movement of decorations can spark the interest of our canine and feline friends. Pets often investigate with their mouths. The cords, coating and material of our decorations can pose a major threat to our furry friends. Ingestion of string, plastic, toxins, or wires can lead to pets becoming severely ill. If these materials get stuck in your pet’s GI tract, they can potentially cause an obstruction and your pet may need to have emergency surgery to remove the foreign body. So, make sure those fall leaves, plastic acorns, ghosts and pumpkins are out of reach.
Pet Costume Safety:
If you love to dress your pets up for Halloween, make sure their costumes are safe. For better Halloween pet safety, avoid costumes that cover the face or neck of your pet, as these costumes can inhibit air flow. Costumes that wrap around your pet’s chest or abdomen should not be tight fitting. Make sure you can fit your hand in between the costume and your pet’s body. Costumes that cover the face or are tight fitting can make it difficult for your pet to breathe, which can be extremely dangerous especially in pets that are brachiocephalic (shorten snout). Brachiocephalic breeds already work twice as hard to move air in and out of their body. Use extreme caution when picking a costume for these breeds. Any costume that has pieces of material or accessories that dangle from the costume, head pieces, tails, or other detachable items can pose as a choking hazard if ingested.
Try selecting costumes that are made of breathable, natural materials and are flame retardant, just like you would when selecting costumes for your kids. When choosing your pet’s costume, ensure your pet is not afraid of the costume before placing them in it. If your pet lowers their head, backs away, or growls at the costume, you may want to consider an alternative.
For more on costume safety, visit Care.com’s costume safety tips!
Trick -OR-Treating Safety:
The 4th of July is not the only holiday that can be extremely stressful to our pets. The constant ringing of the doorbell and increased activity in and around the house can send already anxious pets over the edge. While Trick-or-Treating may not be what we are used to in 2020, it is still important to ensure your pet’s safety. If you know you have a pet prone to anxiety, here are some helpful ways to make their Halloween less stressful.
- Place your pets in a room or kennel far away from the activities with their favorite bed, toys and other comforts. Creating a space where our pets feel safe can help reduce anxiety.
- Set up an alternative to ringing the doorbell. For some pets the doorbell itself can be an anxiety trigger, especially when left alone in the house.
- Stick to your pet’s routine as much as possible. If they go for a walk everyday plan to still walk them on the day of your festivities. Schedule a break from the activities to ensure your pet gets their dinner at or as close to their usual dinner time as possible.
- Pets may see people or children in costumes as a threat. Masks, makeup, or accessories alter appearances and can frighten our furry friends. Do not force pets to interact with people in costume. Provide a safe space away from people and activities pets can easily access to get away from the festivities.
- Have a discussion with your veterinarian about your pet’s anxiety prior to your planned festivities. Lifestyle changes, modifications, or anti-anxiety medications may be options for your pet.
As we fill our Halloween candy bowls, remember to keep those chocolaty and sugary treats away from our pets. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats. While baker’s and dark chocolate pose the highest threat, the high fat and sugar contents of our favorite candy bar can make our pets sick. Pancreatitis can lead to pets being hospitalized for several days. Some clinical signs to watch out for are drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your pet has ingested pieces of décor, costume or chocolate contact your local veterinarian for medical attention.
During this Halloween season remember to keep your pets safe as we enjoy our festivities, company, and food. An emergency pet fund can help lessen the financial burden brought on by any unexpected visits to the veterinary clinic.
Stay tuned for more October & Halloween Pet Safety tips from our doctors on our social media channels!
Written By: Dr. Kelly Ellis